Art as utility is an age old debate that has some critics drowning in semantics. Some say beauty is in the eye of the beholder while others believe the value of a drawing or painting can be gauged independent of the human experience. What if we took this idea further and asked: Does art have the power to create social change? The founders of The Canary Project certainly think so.
Founded in 2006, this New York-based non-profit aims to fund art-centric projects that elevate our awareness of climate change. By supporting photographers, painters and designers, each Canary Project focuses on a specific objective be it bus ads and billboards or an installation of photographs documenting landscapes where scientists are measuring our impact on the globe. Our favorites include The Green Patriot posters aimed at individual action and High Water Line in New York that serves as a preemptive warning that global warming will inevitably affect our most basic need for shelter.
Each of these campaigns cut through the clutter and artfully engage the viewer versus fear-based initiatives that might alienate the most motivated activist. There’s no debating that art is evocative but if you stumble upon something supported by The Canary Project take the time to stop, look and maybe even listen to that voice inside that might be saying “I too can make a difference.”
Image Credit: ‘Devolve’ by Shepard Fairey as part of The Green Patriot posters